Person

Loretta Johnson

Nationality:

American

Residence:

Baltimore, Maryland

Occupation:

Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus of the American Federation of Teachers

Political Party:

Democrat Party

Loretta Johnson is a labor union activist and the secretary-treasurer emeritus of the left-of-center American Federation of Teachers (AFT). [1]  Throughout her 54-year career of labor union activism, [2] Johnson worked as the secretary-treasurer of the AFT, vice president of the AFL-CIO, [3] president of the Baltimore Teachers Union, and president of the AFT-Maryland statewide chapter [4] [5] and was a trustee of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. [6]

In 2014, Johnson chaired AFT’s critical race theory-influenced “Racial Equity Task Force.” [7] [8] [9] The task force’s report claims that systemic cultural and institutional racism have extended back more than 400 years in the United States [10] and that the “fight for racial justice remains the unfinished business” of both the AFT and the United States. [11]

Career

Loretta Johnson is a labor union activist and the secretary-treasurer emeritus of the left-of-center American Federation of Teachers (AFT) labor union. [12] She has been a labor union activist for at least 54 years. [13]

Johnson supports the far-left Black Lives Matter movement. [14] [15] [16] She has also claimed that “segregation is keeping educational and economic opportunities out of African American hands” across the United States [17] and said that AFT’s work to support the lives of African American women and girls must include “black transgender women and nonconforming people of color.” [18]

She has worked to advance the critical race theory-influenced concepts of racial and economic justice in her various positions with the AFL-CIO labor union, as well. [19]

Union Activism

Lorretta Johnson’s career of union activism began in the late 1960s when she worked as a teacher’s aide in Baltimore City Public Schools. There she began to organize paraprofessional workers into the Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU). [20] [21] Johnson helped negotiate the first BTU contract in 1970 and went on to work as the president of BTU for 35 years. During this time she also led the AFT-Maryland statewide chapter for 17 years and represented AFT on the National Taskforce on Paraprofessional Certification in 1979. [22] [23] [24] [25] [26]

In the early 1990s, Johnson was elected vice president of AFT, [27] [28] running on a slate with then-New York City United Federation of Teachers (UFT) labor union president Randi Weingarten. Upon Johnson’s departure from AFT, Weingarten called her a “powerhouse in every sense of the word.” [29]

Johnson was the executive vice president of the AFT until 2011, when she became the secretary-treasurer. She held that role until her retirement in 2020. [30] Johnson was also elected vice president of the AFL-CIO labor union in 2011. [31]

In 2014, Johnson chaired AFT’s critical race theory-influenced “Racial Equity Task Force.” [32] [33] [34] In the task force’s 2015 report, AFT claims that racial equity cannot be separated from the critical race theory-influenced concept of economic justice. [35] The report also claims that systemic cultural and institutional racism have extended back more than 400 years in the United States [36] and that the “fight for racial justice remains the unfinished business” of the AFT and the United States. [37] Johnson is “most proud of” chairing the Racial Equity Task Force and expressed hopes that the organization’s report will be viewed as her “legacy.” [38]

In 2019, Johnson joined the executive committee of the AFL-CIO’s Department of Professional Employees (DPE) as treasurer. This executive committee helped represent DPE’s 24-member coalition consisting of more than four million professional and technical union members. [39]

She retired from her role with AFT in 2020 and worked on AFL-CIO’s executive council until her retirement in 2021. [40] [41]

Johnson has been on the board of directors of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, an African American “constituency group” of the AFL-CIO since 2008. [42] She is also on the board of directors of the left-progressive environmentalist organization BlueGreen Alliance, left-of-center Citizens for Tax Justice, Child Labor Coalition, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, [43] and the left-of-center Albert Shanker Institute, a labor union think tank operated by the AFT. [44]

Previously she was a trustee of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, [45] on the board of the Faith and Politics Institute, and the assistant treasurer for the Baltimore County chapter of the NAACP. [46]

During her activist career, Johnson was also on the board of AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department and the Services Trades Department, vice president of Metropolitan Baltimore Council AFL-CIO, and treasurer of the Municipal Employees Credit Union. [47] She has received community service awards from  United Way, a volunteer service award from the Maryland State AFL-CIO labor union, and a service award from the Baltimore Teachers Union’s paraprofessional chapter. [48]

Political Positions

Loretta Johnson is a member of the Democratic Party and has donated money to the Maryland Democratic Party. [49] In 2005, the Maryland Democratic Party named Johnson the labor leader of the year. [50]

In 2020, Johnson publicly supported the presidential campaign of Joe Biden (D), claiming that Biden “stands with unions.” [51] [52]  In 2018, Johnson received an Economy/Labor Service Award from the Baltimore County Democratic Party. [53]

In 2017, Johnson urged delegates of the California Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second-largest teachers union, to “fight against” the agenda of then-President Donald Trump. [54] Johnson also called the Trump administration “a horror,” [55] opposed Trump administration immigration policies, [56] and supported the 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton (D). [57]

References

  1. “Twitter Bio.” Lorretta Johnson Twitter. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://twitter.com/LorrettaJohnson. ^
  2. “Retiring AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson honored with Bayard Rustin Award.” American Federation of Teachers. July 28, 2020. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/news/retiring-aft-secretary-treasurer-lorretta-johnson-honored-bayard-rustin-award. ^
  3. “AFT’s Lorretta Johnson Elected to AFL-CIO Executive Board.” American Federation of Teachers. August 2, 2011. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/press-release/afts-lorretta-johnson-elected-afl-cio-executive-board. ^
  4. “AFT leader brings perspective and vision.” CFT: A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals. May 1, 2017. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.cft.org/california-teacher/aft-leader-brings-perspective-and-vision. ^
  5. “Dr. Lorretta Johnson: Fighting for Equality and Racial Justice.” Democracy Lessons. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.baltimoresun.com/bs-mtblog-2008-07-lorretta_johnson_in_line_for_a-story.html. ^
  6. “Executive Council List.” Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.cbtu.org/membership/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/CBTU-Exec.-Council-List.pdf. ^
  7. “Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equity.” American Federation of Teachers. October 2015. Accessed July 6, 2022. Pg. 1. https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/racial_equity_taskforce_10-8-15.pdf. ^
  8. “AFT issues groundbreaking report on racial equity.” American Federation of Teachers. October 9, 2015. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/news/aft-issues-groundbreaking-report-racial-equity. ^
  9. “AFT Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/lorretta-johnson ^
  10. “Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equity.” American Federation of Teachers. October 2015. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/racial_equity_taskforce_10-8-15.pdf. ^
  11. “Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equity.” American Federation of Teachers. October 2015. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/racial_equity_taskforce_10-8-15.pdf. ^
  12. “Twitter Bio.” Lorretta Johnson Twitter. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://twitter.com/LorrettaJohnson. ^
  13. “Retiring AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson honored with Bayard Rustin Award.” American Federation of Teachers. July 28, 2020. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/news/retiring-aft-secretary-treasurer-lorretta-johnson-honored-bayard-rustin-award. ^
  14. “Tweet.” Twitter. Posted June 10, 2015. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://twitter.com/LorrettaJohnson/status/608785965331521536. ^
  15. “Tweet.” Twitter. Posted June 8, 2015. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://twitter.com/LorrettaJohnson/status/607996793847046144. ^
  16. “Tweet.” Twitter. Posted June 13, 2020. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://twitter.com/LorrettaJohnson/status/1271923776226295809. ^
  17. Johnson, Lorretta. “Brown v. Board: I Remember the Day.” Medium. May 16, 2014. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://medium.com/@LorrettaJohnson/brown-v-board-i-remember-the-day-526790286f08. ^
  18. Johnson, Lorretta. “We must say her name, too.” American Federation of Teachers Voices. June 11, 2020. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://aftvoices.org/we-must-say-her-name-too-339d9c470dab. ^
  19. “On the Retirement of Lorretta Johnson.” AFL-CIO. November 5, 2021. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://aflcio.org/about/leadership/statements/retirement-lorretta-johnson. ^
  20. “AFT leader brings perspective and vision.” CFT: A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals. May 1, 2017. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.cft.org/california-teacher/aft-leader-brings-perspective-and-vision. ^
  21. “Dr. Lorretta Johnson: Fighting for Equality and Racial Justice.” Democracy Lessons. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.baltimoresun.com/bs-mtblog-2008-07-lorretta_johnson_in_line_for_a-story.html. ^
  22. “Retiring AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson honored with Bayard Rustin Award.” American Federation of Teachers. July 28, 2020. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/news/retiring-aft-secretary-treasurer-lorretta-johnson-honored-bayard-rustin-award. ^
  23. “On the Retirement of Lorretta Johnson.” AFL-CIO. November 5, 2021. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://aflcio.org/about/leadership/statements/retirement-lorretta-johnson. ^
  24. McConer, Korima. “Lorretta Johnson: A Trailblazer for Workers and Civil Rights.” AFT Michigan. February 15, 2021. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://aftmichigan.org/aft-michigan-weekly-update-47/. ^
  25. Johnson, Lorretta. “Looking Back, Looking Ahead.” American Educator. Summer 2016. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1104457.pdf. ^
  26. Johnson, Lorretta. “Looking Back, Looking Ahead.” American Educator. Summer 2016. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1104457.pdf. ^
  27. “Retiring AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson honored with Bayard Rustin Award.” American Federation of Teachers. July 28, 2020. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/news/retiring-aft-secretary-treasurer-lorretta-johnson-honored-bayard-rustin-award. ^
  28. “On the Retirement of Lorretta Johnson.” AFL-CIO. November 5, 2021. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://aflcio.org/about/leadership/statements/retirement-lorretta-johnson. ^
  29. Neufeld, Sara. “Lorretta Johnson in line for AFT post.” The Baltimore Sun. July 10, 2008. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.baltimoresun.com/bs-mtblog-2008-07-lorretta_johnson_in_line_for_a-story.html. ^
  30. McConer, Korima. “Lorretta Johnson: A Trailblazer for Workers and Civil Rights.” AFT Michigan. February 15, 2021. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://aftmichigan.org/aft-michigan-weekly-update-47/. ^
  31. “AFT’s Lorretta Johnson Elected to AFL-CIO Executive Board.” American Federation of Teachers. August 2, 2011. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/press-release/afts-lorretta-johnson-elected-afl-cio-executive-board. ^
  32. Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equity.” American Federation of Teachers. October 2015. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/racial_equity_taskforce_10-8-15.pdf. ^
  33. “AFT issues groundbreaking report on racial equity.” American Federation of Teachers. October 9, 2015. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/news/aft-issues-groundbreaking-report-racial-equity. ^
  34. “AFT Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/lorretta-johnson. ^
  35. [1] “Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equity.” American Federation of Teachers. October 2015. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/racial_equity_taskforce_10-8-15.pdf ^
  36. “Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equity.” American Federation of Teachers. October 2015. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/racial_equity_taskforce_10-8-15.pdf. ^
  37. “Reclaiming the Promise of Racial Equity.” American Federation of Teachers. October 2015. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/racial_equity_taskforce_10-8-15.pdf. ^
  38.  Johnson, Lorretta. “Looking Back, Looking Ahead.” American Educator. Summer 2016. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1104457.pdf. ^
  39. [1]  Barrows, Katie. “DPE Honors Retiring AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson.” September 1, 2020. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.dpeaflcio.org/press-releases/dpe-honors-retiring-aft-secretary-treasurer-lorretta-johnson. ^
  40. “AFT Resolution Lorretta Johnson.” American Federation of Teachers. 2020. Accessed July 10, 2022. https://www.aft.org/resolution/lorretta-johnson. ^
  41. “On the Retirement of Lorretta Johnson.” AFL-CIO Executive Council. November 5, 2021. Accessed July 10, 2022. https://aflcio.org/about/leadership/statements/retirement-lorretta-johnson. ^
  42. “AFT Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/lorretta-johnson. ^
  43. “Retiring AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson honored with Bayard Rustin Award.” American Federation of Teachers. July 28, 2020. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/news/retiring-aft-secretary-treasurer-lorretta-johnson-honored-bayard-rustin-award. ^
  44. “Lorretta Johnson.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/lorretta-johnson. ^
  45. “Executive Council List.” Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.cbtu.org/membership/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/CBTU-Exec.-Council-List.pdf. ^
  46. “AFT Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/lorretta-johnson. ^
  47. “Retiring AFT Secretary-Treasurer Lorretta Johnson honored with Bayard Rustin Award.” American Federation of Teachers. July 28, 2020. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/news/retiring-aft-secretary-treasurer-lorretta-johnson-honored-bayard-rustin-award. ^
  48. “Lorretta Johnson: AFT Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus. American Federation of Teachers. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/lorretta-johnson. ^
  49. “Individual contributions.” Federal Election Commission Contribution Search Results. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=lorretta%20johnson. ^
  50. “AFT Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/lorretta-johnson. ^
  51. “I’m with Joe.” AFT Voices. February 28, 2020. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://aftvoices.org/im-with-joe-608ead2d817. ^
  52. “Tweet.” Twitter. Posted February 26, 2020. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://twitter.com/LorrettaJohnson/status/1232727630916587520. ^
  53. [1] “AFT Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus.” American Federation of Teachers. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.aft.org/about/leadership/lorretta-johnson. ^
  54. “AFT leader brings perspective and vision.” CFT: A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals. May 1, 2017. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.cft.org/california-teacher/aft-leader-brings-perspective-and-vision. ^
  55. “Tweet.” Twitter. Posted August 20, 2020. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://twitter.com/LorrettaJohnson/status/1296630018697814023. ^
  56. “Tweet.” Twitter. Posted July 15, 2020. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://twitter.com/LorrettaJohnson/status/1283481241044553728. ^
  57. “Tweet.” Twitter. Posted September 26, 2016. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://twitter.com/LorrettaJohnson/status/780587096654417921. ^
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